The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about unprecedented challenges to the entire arts sector. Many arts organizations have been coerced to reduce their staffing or even close down. The venue-based sectors (such as museums, performing arts, live music, festivals, etc.) have been hardest hit by the lockdowns and restriction on gathering. As the activities have been constantly postponed or canceled and reduced in amount, the artists and cultural workers have lost income and become unemployed. Out of work and unable to express their art, many of them are left with little choice but to adapt the way they work and go virtual. However, it is important to note that not all artists are able to do so because of many different conditions – whether it be lack of funding, equipment, knowledge or skills – and not all activities can totally switch to online.
Despite threatened livelihoods and all difficulties, many artists have proved to be resilient and quickly adjust to the new reality. At the same time, they are able to use arts as a medium to promote resilience for the society and provide a different story moving from fear and anxiety to strength and hope. The socio-economic adversities are also told and reflected through the realm of art.). The artists develop creative responses in this time of disruption and help (re)connect people amid physical distance and mobility restriction.
To highlight the challenges, resilience and roles of artists, SEA Junction will hold an online event on 17 July 2021 at 1:00-2.30 pm with the title of “From Fear to Resilience: Artists Amid the Pandemic”. Due to the COVID-19 situation, the event will be held via Zoom (Link: https://bit.ly/artists-amid-the-pandemic) and also livestreamed on our Facebook Page: SEA Junction.
The panel discussion will explore the resilience of both traditional and contemporary artists in Thailand and wider Southeast Asia. In particular, it will investigate how artists especially those in performing arts have been affected and become resilient in creating their works during the pandemic. It will also look at how they have been touching on the COVID-19 and social issues through their works. The speakers include:
- Lea Espallardo, Senior Resident Artist, Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA)
- Wahyu Dunung Raharjo, Founder & Executive, Yayasan Sang Pamarta Indonesia
- Sasapin Siriwanij, Artistic Director, Bangkok International Performing Arts Meeting (BIPAM)
- Tanawat Asawaitthipond, Art Producer, Artpedia / Pichet Klunchun Dance Company
During the panel, a short feature of documentary “Living Voices“ produced by PETA in collaboration with SEA Junction will be exclusively screened. It documented the stories of resiliency and survival featuring how PETA’s performing artists navigated the uncertainty of every crisis point in the life, see the trailer here. The documentary and panel discussion are also related to SEA Junction’s special initiative “ From Fear to Resilience: Living COVID-19 in Southeast Asia” in collaboration with CMB.
This event is a part of “The Cultural Worker in Times of Social Change: A Meeting Point on Art & Social Action in Asia,” organized by Mekong Cultural Hub (MCH). The participants of this event are strongly encouraged to join MCH’s virtual mini-Meeting Point on Art & Social Action in Asia. The different sessions will explore the topic of art and social action in Asia and reflect on the status of the cultural worker in times of social change.
In particular, our event will be accompanied with “SEA*5 Creative Responders: Building a network of Creative Responders in the Global South” program organized by MCH. Starting at 2.45 pm, the first part will introduce the concept and five founding members of SEA*5. One of them is Raz Salvarita who facilitates creative recovery programme through Baryo Balangaw Creative Initiatives, supported by SEA Junction’s Small Grant Program. The second part will focus on The 5R Action Points for Creative Responders – Interactive Forum: Resilience, Readiness, Respond, Recover and Reimagine, followed with the musical performance as the third part which will finish at 6.45 pm. More information is available at https://www.mekongculturalhub.org/mini-meeting-point-2021/.